Booth Bird of the Month: December – Cicinnurus regius, King bird-of-paradise
Our bird of the month for December is on display at the Booth Museum of Natural History.
The king bird-of-paradise is found in New Guinea. They are called a “Living gem” as they are vividly coloured and are the smallest of the birds of paradise. The males are a brilliant red with two elegant long tail feathers with a circular swirl of bright green at the end.
Both males and females have blue feet and live for 5-8 years in the wild but up to 30 years in captivity.
An extraordinary courtship display is performed by the male with a series of tail swinging, fluffing of the white abdominal feathers that makes the bird look like a cotton ball, and acrobatic movements of their elongated tail wires.
They breed during the months of March to October. The females both build the nest and care for the young without any male assistance. They lay two eggs in open cup nests that are built into tree cavities.